LAPD to Modify Policy on Use of Informants Following Anger Over Decision to Spy on Anti-Trump Group

LAPD chief Michel Moore is shown in an undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

LAPD chief Michel Moore is shown in an undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department will modify its policies on the use of confidential informants and undercover officers after a Los Angeles Times report revealed the agency had spied on a political group that was planning protests against President Trump in 2017, officials said.

Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission Tuesday that the decision to deploy informants inside sensitive locations — including churches, hospitals or law offices — or among political groups will now require the approval of some of the department’s highest-ranking officers.

“The use of a confidential informant or undercover officer at a place of worship or other sensitive location where 1st Amendment protected activities [are] conducted, I believe, should receive a higher level of scrutiny and approval before becoming operational, to ensure that the benefit of the investigative technique is not outweighed by the potential loss of public trust,” Moore said Tuesday.

The policy change comes after The Times revealed that the department had sent an informant to monitor and surreptitiously record four meetings held by Refuse Fascism in October 2017 as the group plotted demonstrations and protests to mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s election. Refuse Fascism is considered to be a largely nonviolent group, yet the LAPD informant monitored four of its meetings inside an Echo Park church.

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